Tuesday, April 14, 2009
No One On The Corner Has Swagger Like Us
That lyric was what first popped into my mind when Miller repeatedly used one of my favorite words, "swagger". The lyrics are from M.I.A.'s most popular song, Paper Planes, incase you didn't know. Great song, great musician. She's one of my favorites. You should check her out if you haven't. I digress. After listening to some of the player's interviews from the locker room cleanout and reading articles and write-ups about it, Ryan Miller's words were the most insightful and I understand the message he is trying to put out. Maybe this team needs to go see a sports psychologist. The most frustrating thing for me is that I really think this team is capable of being contenders. Yet here we are, on the outside looking in, just like last year. I know a lot of people just say, "Face it...this team just isn't that good." but I don't buy that. I'm not saying that the organization shouldn't try and maybe look for help from outside the organization, but I also don't believe that this team isn't talented enough to get the job done. I just think that the team has showed numerous times over the season that they can compete with top teams, but for some reason they lose focus and that's what kills them. As a fan I can only speculate, and to be honest I don't really have any theories which is probably because I can't fully undertand, as I am not apart of the team. But Miller's theories are very compelling.
I don't see how this team can move forward if people are going to keep harping on Drury and Briere. I'm sick and tired of having everything always going back to them, but maybe the Sabres put that on themselves as they have not had a playoff berth since those two left the team, so it makes it easier for the media and the fans to go back to Drury and Briere. I just want fans to forget about them...it's fun to look back and reflect on the better times, but I just can't stand it when people go into "What if?" scenarios and discuss where this team would be if they somehow managed to keep one or both on the team. I even hear some people refer to Martin Biron after we've lost a game with our backup goalie in net. Nevermind the fact that Marty made it clear he was unhappy being a backup goalie... unless fans would rather have Martin Biron instead of Ryan Miller as our number 1 goalie. So I don't understand when fans bring that up.
I guess it's obvious that this team is still searching for their own identity, as a few players and Lindy have mentioned that. Miller referred to it as growing pains. Unfortunately while the team is going through their growing pains they are also missing the playoffs, which is an experience that some of the young players on the team don't have yet.
In other news that came from locker room clean out day, it seems as though Pominville has an undisclosed injury and he was pretty vague about it, but he did say that he might have a procedure done over the summer which might prevent him from participating in the World Championships. Miller also said that he declined an invitation so he can have an entire offseason to rest his ankle. Not really surprising. Maxim Afinogenov also implied that he will not be here next year. I know most fans knew that already, but still...I cannot help but feel a sense of attachment towards Max since he's been with the Sabres for so long. I'm not advocating that the team keeps him, but it's still a little sad to see him go. All in all, he was a very exciting player to watch but he also could be very frustrating. I think a change of scenery will do him well and I wish him success wherever he ends up. You could never question Max's effort, and that's something that I've always appreciated from him.
So unfortunately the Sabres season is over, but the playoffs are right around the corner. I'm not one to make predictions, but I do have certain teams that I'll be keeping a closer eye on than others, and hoping that certain teams have more success than others. As the East goes, the Capitals are an exciting young team, and maybe they have what it takes to go all the way this year. I really hope they take out the Rangers. And that's not just because of the whole Gomez-Miller incident, or the fact that they essentially knocked us out of a playoff spot...but for as long as I've followed hockey I have always had a dislike for the Rangers. A dislike that has developed over the years. So I really hope they get knocked out in the first round by the Caps. The Devils-Hurricanes match-up will most likely be an exciting, hard fought series...I am hoping the Devils prevail as a Sabres fan it's pretty hard to root for the Hurricanes. Plus I like Brodeur. I know a lot of fans don't like the trap, but whatever. I'll still root for the Devils over the Hurricanes any day. Montreal and Boston have a lot of history with one another, which could make for an exciting series, but I'm not sure how evenly matched the series will be as Montreal has had their fair share of struggles and Boston has really been on a tear for essentially the entire season. But it's a whole new season once the playoffs roll around.
Onto the West, it's time for the Sharks to prove their critics wrong by not making another early exit in the postseason. They are a tricky team for me because they always seem to have a strong regular season, but then seem to struggle and disappoint in the offseason. Anaheim is a tough team with recent playoff success, so I can see them making it hard for the Sharks. I think I'd like the see the Blues prevail over Vancouver, just because they were bottom dwellers in the league and they worked hard to earn a playoff spot. You have to admire that, and what can I say, I am a sucker for the underdog. Must have something to do with me being a Buffalo sports fan. I guess I should root for Chicago since there are Buffalo ties there with Pat Kane (and Brian Campbell I suppose), but I've also always admired the Calgary Flames and I think Jarome Iginla is one of the best players in the league. So either way, I wouldn't mind who comes out on top...I just hope to see some good hockey.
For the teams I didn't mention, it's just because I couldn't care less what the outcome is. Or I can't decide. Like the Flyers-Penguins match-up, I pretty much dislike both teams...so I don't really care who wins. I guess I could chose the Flyers because of our good pal, Marty...but honestly I don't care.
I also promised that I'd keep people up to date if I happened to see any Sabres out and about during the offseason. But now I am sort of regretting that I said anything. I don't want the players to feel as though their entire lives will be documented whenever they take a step outside their front door. But at the same time, there's no harm in discussing an innocent encounter. As long as there's no vicious gossip involved because that's never any fun. Okay, maybe it's fun sometimes. All I'll say is that there may or may not have been an encounter late Saturday night/early Sunday morning around 4:30 AM and a certain sassy goalie may or may not have been spotted by a certain someone. Alcohol may or may not have been involved. But hilarity was definitely ensued. That's all I'm sayin'.
The weather is going to be really nice this week, go out and enjoy it!